Romance has always eluded Ohio office worker Jane Hudson (Hepburn). So, when she meets suave, good-looking antiques dealer Renato Di Rossi (Brazzi) on a summer vacation in Venice, the middle-aged spinster-to-be feels overwhelmed by happiness. Disappointment looms, however, when she learns that Renato is a married family man. What will she do?
Adapting Arthur Laurents's play "The Time of the Cuckoo," the great David Lean made this potent, moving tale of an unmarried woman torn between her European lover's sparkling companionship and her Midwestern sense of propriety. He found an agreeable star in Hepburn, who's brilliant playing the lonely secretary having the dreamiest — and most conflicted — time of her life. Reputedly, Lean preferred this film to all his others, including "Brief Encounter," and it's not hard to see why: Jack Hildyard's incomparable cinematography brings the canals of Venice to shimmering life, the story is poignant and bittersweet, and Hepburn lavishes every line with emotion.